It goes without saying that stratification was the huge topic to discuss over the ages and still have a great relevance in today’s world. The definition of stratification is the process in which people are divided into different groups and level of living according to their visual aspects, occupation, wealth, income and so forth. So, it’s a term that describes social inequality. In my essay I’m going to discuss why stratification is an inevitable and desirable feature of human societies.
The fact that individuals are unequal, separate, and concrete people is an absolute truth. It is well explained by the Clyde Klaukhon. The idea of Clyde Klaukhon is that from one point of view, all people are similar with other people, from the second point of view – only some are related, and from the third, for instance, are not related to anyone else, exclusive and unique. Each of us has much more signs of the third type. There are different people existed in the world: tall and short, fat and thin, smart and unintelligent, old and young, and so on. Each person has a unique composition of genes, biography and an irreplaceable personality warehouse. However, social inequality is related more to the situation where developed unequal social groups of people and different social statuses but not according to any of their physical attributes. Everybody exist in different social groups and have different statuses. For example: the student group is different from the sports team, the work team is from the military, the family is from the group of friends and so forth. As the status of a student is different from the status of agrarian, the status of a doctor differs from that of a teacher, and the status of a pilot is from a hundred sailor’s status.
Besides, people from wealthier social groups have higher opportunities. For example: people of wealthy families tend to be healthier, live longer, attend better college compared to the children born into poverty.
This brings up another aspect of social stratification – social mobility. Social mobility is persistent in positions across social hierarchy. It can be upward and downward. In upward societies it is almost impossible to change the status and individuals stuck in the same position and spend lives in that status. For instance, in capitalists societies system of stratification is upward and it is more dependent on personal achievements and knowledge than the status of their parents. When it comes to social hierarchy it will be unfair not to mention that, in the modern world, is divided into 4 classes: materialism, corporatocracy, government and people. This hierarchy system leads to the constant tendency where the rich people get richer and the poor get poorer. Furthermore, people from the same stratum of social hierarchy have similar interests, lifestyle, social groups, activities, places for shopping and so on which is make division between people even more.
According to Marx’s theory of stratification class is a group of people with the same means of production that they use to secure their lives. He believes that the reason for social inequality in capitalist societies is division between those who owns the means of production and those who do not own them and can only sell their labor. For the reason that the people from classes have different interests he argues that it is impossible to eliminate contradictions between the owner’s class and the class of employees because it can lead to class conflict and even communist revolution.
Weber took a lot of inspiration from marx’s theory, however he was completely against communism as he believed that it would need more bureaucracy than a capitalist society and would therefore be harder to deal with. Weber’s theory, like marx’s includes the concept of class, however, the weberian theory also includes the concepts of power and status. He defines power as the ability to get one’s way even though they are facing backlash or are in the wrong, for example, Donald Trump allegedly bought his votes to win the presidency, implying he had the power to do so. Power comes in the form of wealth and connections that a person, or family, may have in order to exercise their power. Status in his words is – a person’s prestige, social honor, or popularity in a society. Unlike Marx, Weber did not see the supreme stratification in terms of class. Weber also argues that political power comes from one’s class, social status, prestige and popularity within their society.
Having social stratification motivates people to work harder – in order to become CEO, usually you have to start at the bottom of the spectrum and work your way up. Unless we consider the very few privileged elite who are born into inheritance, normal people have to work their way to the top. Different sorts of jobs are also an incentive for people to work, as no job is one fit all. It also increases a person’s value of their own self worth once they reach a certain position they were working after. The difference in social class forces people to want to move up the ladder rather than staying stuck in one place, which helps people progress as a society.
Nothing in our society is equal, different job positions have different statuses and pays, you cannot compare and level the job of a president and the job of a janitor, because one clearly overpowers the other and may even be considered to be more important in general cases.
This creates healthy competition within a society that allows it to progress and thrive to achieve the highest place in the hierarchy possible.
Taking everything into consideration, I would like to say there are three types of the most important goods that never be enough for anyone: material goods (wealth), power and prestige. These help individuals strive for to earn more of each one which creates competition within a society that helps in progress. In reality social stratification is as natural as it can be, as hierarchies exist within every aspect of our lives, and even in the animal kingdom, which creates balance and structure and encourages progression.
- Marx’S View Of Class Differentiation’. Social Sci Libretexts, 2020, https://socialsci.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Sociology/Book%3A_Sociology_(Boundless)/8%3A_Global_Stratification_and_Inequality/8.6%3A_Sociological_Theories_and_Global_Inequality/8.6E%3A_Marx%E2%80%99s_View_of_Class_Differentiation.
- Weber’S View Of Stratification’. Social Sci Libretexts, 2020, https://socialsci.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Sociology/Book%3A_Sociology_(Boundless)/8%3A_Global_Stratification_and_Inequality/8.6%3A_Sociological_Theories_and_Global_Inequality/8.6F%3A_Weber%E2%80%99s_View_of_Stratification.
- Kluckhohn, Clyde. ‘THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF VALUES AND CONTEMPORARY CIVILIZATION’. Zygon�, vol 1, no. 3, 1966, pp. 230-243. Wiley, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9744.1966.tb00459.x.
- ‘Social Stratification: Crash Course Sociology #21’. Youtube.Com, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlkIKCMt-Fs.
- Society, Top. ‘Top 12 Importance Of Social Stratification To The Society – Unlocking-The-Future.Com’. Unlocking-The-Future.Com, 2020, https://unlocking-the-future.com/top-12-importance-of-social-stratification-to-the-society/.